For most businesses, bringing in new customers is harder than getting sales from repeat customers. Those who have done business with you in the past are more likely to listen to your sales message. If their customer experience was good, they may come back, especially if you give them a reason to visit again.
For the food and beverage industry, an excellent way to nurture repeat visits is with marketing emails. Sent via ESP’s (email service providers) like Constant Contact, MarketVolt or Fishbowl (which specializes in restaurant promotion), these emails allow a restaurant to share news about special deals, special events, new menu items, new chefs, etc. The cost is reasonable and the results can be stunning.
How do you get started? Begin by asking your diners to fill out comment cards and to include their email addresses. Provide ample space and ask her or him to print clearly. Include a link on your restaurant website where visitors can submit their email addresses to be added to the database. You should also ask your vendors and friends if you can include them on your email list.
Reaching out to those who are already familiar with your restaurant(s) via email should produce repeat visits—if the content is right. More later.